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Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Brandon Bass braced for trade talk

By Chris Forsberg
ESPNBoston.com

PHOENIX -- Brandon Bass usually is a man of few words. That made his eloquent thoughts on hearing his name in trade speculation all the more impactful as he discussed his uncertain future before the Boston Celtics practiced Tuesday at the US Airways Center.

In his ninth NBA season and third with Boston, Bass acknowledged speculation that he is one of the most likely Celtics to be moved, but said he wouldn't allow the rumors to distract him.

Brandon Bass
With a solid all-around game at a reasonable salary, Brandon Bass should have some appeal to the Celtics' potential trade partners.

"OK, trades come up, it makes you think about, 'Do they have me in their future plans?' or things of that nature," Bass said. "But even thinking that far [ahead] doesn't even matter, man. It's really all about you just trying to improve as a basketball player. Let the business side, let those people take care of those things."

The Celtics have a logjam at the power forward position and rookie bigs Kelly Olynyk and Vitor Faverani could benefit from additional minutes over the final two months of the season. There's reason to believe Boston would be interested in moving Bass with a goal of adding to their surplus of draft picks or acquiring an expiring deal that could further unclog their cap commitment next season.

Bass is a versatile defender with an economical contract -- he'll enter the final year of his deal next season with a $6.9 million price tag. He could provide a frontcourt boost to a contender without disrupting the chemistry of the locker room.

But Bass knows that his future is out of his hands. Even if the Celtics are willing to move him, they have to find a dance partner. Even if another team desires Bass, the Celtics can set a lofty price tag for his services without an urgency to make a move.

"You can only control what you can control, that's you just trying to come in every day and work hard and be the best player you become," Bass said. "As far as being traded or things of that nature, that's not your job to think about or try to control."

Bass is averaging 10.8 points on 47.8 percent shooting to go along with 5.8 rebounds and career highs at 1.1 assists and 1 block per game in 54 appearances this season, including 45 starts. But his plus/minus is a disaster (a team-worst minus-251) and his advanced numbers are likewise worrisome. Boston is 4.6 points better per 100 possessions offensively with Bass off the court, and 2.8 points better per 100 possessions defensively.

The Celtics acquired Bass in exchange for Glen Davis coming out of the lockout of 2011. He meshed well with Kevin Garnett, who was shuffled to center. Bass' lack of size and rebounding was overcome by his toughness and ability to defend multiple positions.

But with Jared Sullinger blossoming this season and likely pegged as the power forward of the team's future (if they can find a legit center to put next to him), in addition to the presence of Olynyk, Faverani and Kris Humphries, Bass' future in Boston is cloudy at best.

Bass' name bubbled up in trade whispers in December when the team reportedly offered him and Courtney Lee to Houston while trying to land center Omer Asik. Despite reportedly being the best offer Houston saw, it wasn't enough to make a swap happen.

Soon after, Lee was traded to Memphis. Bass, who said he was a bit blindsided to hear his name in that Houston talk, said he's prepared for anything now.

"I didn't know how to take [the Houston rumors]," Bass said. "I didn't expect that and it kind of came out of nowhere. But now I'm in my stance."

His stance?

"You're in your corner and the bell hasn't rung and the guy is in front of you, like in boxing," Bass explained. "The bell [had not] rung, so I wasn't in my stance."

Now, he said, "I'm in my stance, I'm ready to dodge and jab or whatever."

Bass spent the All-Star break in San Juan, Puerto Rico, getting his mind off basketball. Back on the practice floor Tuesday, he said he won't let his uncertain future bother him.

"I think that, if you think about those things, it can consume you. Therefore, you shouldn't think about it because I'm not in meetings with GMs and owners," Bass said. "I'm on the plane with my teammates talking about whatever we're talking about.

"Earlier in my career, I thought about it more. But as I get older -- next year will by my 10th year -- nah, it's easy [to ignore]."

Bass noted how he had never spent more than two seasons in any of his previous stops (New Orleans, Dallas and Orlando) and expressed gratitude for having some security in Boston.

"You know what, I'm grateful to be here for my third year," he said. "I've never played with a team for three years, so I'm actually grateful. I feel like this is an accomplishment for me, being here for three years."

But if Boston doesn't see Bass in its long-term plans, he wants to be with a team that does.

"It's really about who wants you the most, and I want to be where I'm really wanted and I'm really a part of their future," Bass said. "That's all that matters. Nothing else really matters."